Publishers WeeklyWhimsy drives both the text and airy watercolor art of Kitamura’s (The Young Inferno) story of a girl with a creative and colorful imagination. Millie finds a fabulous feathered chapeau in an elegant shop, but has no money. When the accommodating clerk brings out an invisible hat that fits her perfectly, she reaches into her purse and gives him “all she had in it.” Prompted by items she spies while walking, Millie imagines her hat to be a peacock, a stack of bakery cakes and a bouquet of flowers, among other things. Her imagination then turns outward and she notices that passersby are also wearing hats that slyly reflect their professions, passions and inner lives (a putting green for a businessman, a seal balancing a ball for a woman burdened with a pile of parcels, a pair of angry dinosaurs for two arguing boys). Sheer joyfulness leads Millie (and her hat) to sing on her way home, causing a riot of rainbows and animals to trail from her head. A cheerful tribute to a determined and optimistic imagination. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. HenshonAs Millie walks home from school one day, she sees a wonderful hat shop. Millie cannot wait to try on the hat with the colorful feathers, and she is surprised to discover it is very expensive. With a completely empty purse, can Millie buy anything? The shop keeper goes in the back room and returns with a box. "This is a most marvelous hat, Madam. It can be any size, shape, or color you wish. All you have to do is imagine it." When Millie puts the hat on, it fits perfectly! The hat transforms into a peacock and later into a tall cake that stretches, ever so deliciously, toward the sky. As Millie walks by a flower shop, her hat turns into a bouquet, and later, it becomes a fountain hat. There are many of people with special hatspeople with the capacity to imagine and dream. As Millie sings, her hat turns into a stream of music. At the end of the story, Millie shares the magic with her own parents. Millie learns to embrace her imaginative abilities and to share them with other people. In this magical, one-of-a-kind story, children will learn how to dream and imagine new possibilities. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library JournalK-Gr 3—When Millicent cannot afford the hat she sees in a store window, the clerk remembers that he has a special one that's perfect for her budget. This imaginary hat can be any size, shape, or color that she prefers. As she walks down the street wearing it, Millie is inspired. Soon she has a hat like a peacock, then a cake, next a flower, and then a fountain. In the park she discovers that everyone has a special hat. Back home she tells her parents all about her day and soon they too are sporting hats. Kitamura's idea and writing are solid, but his illustrations are not as successful as in his Duck Is Dirty (Farrar, 1996; o.p.) or UFO Diary (Andersen, 2007). For example, the store clerk is described as kindly but looks decidedly sour, and the cake hat is less than appetizing. Overall the book doesn't display a joyful burst of imagination.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Kirkus ReviewsA little girl becomes a millinery maven when she lets her imagination soar. On her way home from school, Millie spies a hat with colorful feathers in a shop window. Although the hat suits Millie perfectly, her purse is empty. Then the sympathetic salesman offers her a box containing a "most marvellous hat," which can "be any size, shape or color you wish" as long as you "imagine it." When she tries on the imaginary hat, she loves it and discovers it has a lot of potential. First it's a peacock hat, then a cake hat, then a flowery hat and even a fountain hat. Soon Millie imagines everyone she sees in a different fanciful hat. The possibilities are endless. Kitamura matches his quiet story of imagination and empowerment with soft watercolor illustrations that teem with fascinating urban detail. Decked out in a bright-yellow slicker and boots, Millie's small cheery figure easily stands out amid crowded streets and parks, but it's her fantastical hats that command center-page attention. A real charmer. (Picture book. 4-8)
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